A tiny village in Ionia County has been around since 1837; it's had no fanfare and nobody famous came from there...but it is sorta famous for one thing.

The village of  Orleans is an unincorporated community, sitting in Ionia County's Orleans Township. In 1837, Guy Webster from Ohio traveled here and became the first settler. The area began drawing more people, thanks to the land that was perfect for growing wheat. In fact, in 1844 when a post office was established, it was given the name 'Wheatland'.

More and more settlers began arriving, most from New York's Orleans County...and soon enough, the village name was changed to 'Orleans' by 1868.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

In 1870, the railroad came through. In 1871, Asa Palmer platted the land and changed the village name to 'Palmer' in honor of himself. The post office, however, did not change its name, and as time went on, the name 'Palmer' just fell by the wayside and the village survived as 'Orleans' from then on.

Now, what reason could anyone have for paying a visit to Orleans? There's not much there, all the old storefronts have been demolished, so what's the point? One point is: it's one of Michigan's little towns that seems to elude a lot of recognition and therefore has remained unspoiled and down-homey.

Another reason is Orleans' claim-to-fame: Pierson Orchard Market, a family-owned farm that features homegrown fruits and vegetables, many which have won awards. There's a bakery on the premises with an array of down-home country pies, donuts and pastries to take home to the family...or eat on the road. Pierson's is located at 5348 N State Road; take a drive to Orleans, then veer off to Pierson's...a good way to spend a Sunday summer afternoon!

The gallery below features a few old photos of Orleans from over 100 years ago...

Vintage Photos of Orleans, Michigan


Ghost Town of Redridge: Vintage Photos

Vintage Photos of Alpena, 1900-1940s

Vintage Bunker Hill Photos

More From 99.1 WFMK